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Make a carcanet of rays,

And ye talk together still,

In the language wherewith Spring
Letters cowslips on the hill?
Hence that look and smile of thine,
Spiritual Adeline.

(1853)

XXVI

A CHARACTER

WITH a half-glance upon the sky
At night he said, "The wanderings
Of this most intricate Universe
Teach me the nothingness of things."
Yet could not all creation pierce
Beyond the bottom of his eye.

He spake of beauty: that the dull
Saw no divinity in grass,

Life in dead stones, or spirit in air;
Then looking as 'twere in a glass,

He smooth'd his chin and sleek'd his hair,
And said the earth was beautiful.

He spake of virtue: not the gods)
More purely, when they wish to charm
Pallas and Juno sitting by:

And with a sweeping of the arm,
And a lack-lustre dead-blue eye,
Devolved his rounded periods.

Most delicately hour by hour
He canvass'd human mysteries,
And trod on silk, as if the winds
Blew his own praises in his eyes,
And stood aloof from other minds
In impotence of fancied power,

With lips depress'd as he were meek,
Himself unto himself he sold:
Upon himself himself did feed:

Quiet, dispassionate, and cold,

And other than his form of creed,

With chisell'd features clear and sleek.

XXVII

SONG

I

THE lintwhite and the throstlecock
Have voices sweet and clear;
All in the bloomèd May.
They from the blosmy brere
Call to the fleeting year,
If that he would them hear
And stay.

Alas! that one so beautiful
Should have so dull an ear.

Fair

2

year, fair year, thy children call,

But thou art deaf as death;

All in the bloomèd May.
When thy light perisheth

That from thee issueth,

Our life evanisheth :

Oh! stay.

Alas! that lips so cruel-dumb

Should have so sweet a breath!

3

Fair year, with brows of royal love
Thou comest, as a king.
All in the bloomed May.
Thy golden largess fling,
And longer hear us sing;
Though thou art fleet of wing,
Yet stay.

Alas! that eyes so full of light
Should be so wandering!

4

Thy locks are all of sunny sheen
In rings of gold yronne,1
All in the bloomèd May.
We pri'thee pass not on;
If thou dost leave the sun,
Delight is with thee gone,
Oh! stay.

Thou art the fairest of thy feres,
We pri'thee pass not on.

1His crispè hair in ringis was yronne.—Chaucer, Knight's Tale.

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THE POET

THE poet in a golden clime was born,

With golden stars above;

Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, The love of love.

He saw thro' life and death, thro' good and ill,
He saw thro' his own soul.

The marvel of the everlasting will,

An open scroll,

Before him lay with echoing feet he threaded

:

The secretest walks of fame :

The viewless arrows of his thoughts were headed
And wing'd with flame,

Like Indian reeds, blown from his silver tongue,
And of so fierce a flight,

From Calpe unto Caucasus they sung,
Filling with light

And vagrant melodies the winds which bore
Them earthward till they lit;

Then, like the arrow-seeds of the field flower,
The fruitful wit

Cleaving, took root, and springing forth anew
Where'er they fell, behold,

Like to the mother plant in semblance, grew
A flower all gold,

And bravely furnish'd all abroad to fling
The winged shafts of truth,

To throng with stately blooms the breathing spring
Of Hope and Youth.

So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
Tho' one did fling the fire.

Heaven flow'd upon the soul in many dreams
Of high desire.

Thus truth was multiplied on truth, the world
Like one great garden show'd,

And thro' the wreaths of floating dark upcurl'd,
Rare sunrise flow'd.

And Freedom rear'd in that august sunrise
Her beautiful bold brow,

When rites and forms before his burning eyes
Melted like snow.

There was no blood upon her maiden robes
Sunn'd by those orient skies;

But round about the circles of the globes
Of her keen eyes

And in her raiment's hem was traced in flame
WISDOM, a name to shake

All evil dreams of power-a sacred name.
And when she spake,

Her words did gather thunder as they ran,
And as the lightning to the thunder
Which follows it, riving the spirit of man,
Making earth wonder,

So was their meaning to her words. No sword
Of wrath her right arm whirl'd,

But one poor poet's scroll, and with his word
She shook the world.

(1853)

XXX

THE POET'S MIND

Ι

VEX not thou the poet's mind
With thy shallow wit:
Vex not thou the poet's mind;

For thou canst not fathom it.
Clear and bright it should be ever,
Flowing like a crystal river;
Bright as light, and clear as wind.

2

Dark-brow'd sophist, come not anear;
All the place is holy ground;
Hollow smile and frozen sneer
Come not here.

Holy water will I pour

Into every spicy flower

Of the laurel-shrubs that hedge it around.
The flowers would faint at your cruel cheer.
In your eye there is death,

There is frost in your breath

Which would blight the plants.

Where you stand you cannot hear

From the groves within

The wild-bird's din.

In the heart of the garden the merry bird chants,
It would fall to the ground if you came in.

In the middle leaps a fountain

Like sheet lightning,

Ever brightening

With a low melodious thunder;

E

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